Press Release

AFT Leadership Joins I AM Conference in Memphis

For Release: 

Thursday, March 29, 2018


Oriana Korin

Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated fighting for the right of sanitation workers to a better life—the same fight the AFT wages every day for our members, our students, our patients and our communities.

AFT President Randi Weingarten, Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson and Executive Vice President Mary Cathryn Ricker will lead workshops and discussions, deliver remarks and participate in a rally, march and Passover Seder at the I AM 2018 Conference to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the sanitation workers’ strike and King’s assassination. Led by the Church of God in Christ and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the conference will focus on developing social, racial and economic justice strategies for the years ahead.

Weingarten said: “Dr. King understood the essential connection between civil rights and workers’ rights, and while much has been accomplished in both arenas, his words ring as true today as they did 50 years ago. The ‘I AM’ movement is more important than ever. It’s a place for anyone who believes that America is a place to turn struggling into striving; a place for any Dreamer, regardless of where you come from or who you love; a place where every worker deserves a decent wage, not just the rich; a place where healthcare and college are affordable; a place where everyone can vote and participate in democracy freely; and a place where all students can access safe and welcoming public schools and a ladder of opportunity, regardless of ZIP code.

“At the AFT, we have waged these fights for over 100 years, showing up for our members, caring about our communities and fighting for good jobs, living wages and equal access to education.”

Weingarten will be joined onstage by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Mei-Ling Ho-Shing, who survived the shooting at her high school in February.

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.